Not Bored Game With Makey Makey

About: I make things and I help others to make things. Twitter: joshburker

Create your own physical board game that connects to Scratch with the Makey Makey. The playing piece reacts with the board game to cause Scratch to augment your “notbored” game with action on the screen.


Makey Makey Classic, Box cutter, Sheet of cardboard, cut to board game size, Crayons or markers, Permanent marker, Glue stick, Extra cardboard, Awl (the tool on a pocketknife or multi-tool designed to poke holes in material), 22 gauge wire, ideally in two different colors, Wire cutter/stripper, Copper tape with conductive adhesive, 1/2” width, Masking tape, Playing piece, either one you create or a small figurine you repurpose, Hot glue gun and hot glue stick, Small pieces of wood (optional) or strips of cardboard, Needle nose pliers, Alligator clips, Computer running Scratch

Teacher Notes

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Step 1:

Use the box cutter to cut out a board game size piece of cardboard. Use the crayons or markers to decorate the board. Cut out a “path” the playing piece will follow and mark the spaces with a permanent marker. Glue the path to the decorated board.

Educator Tip:

Note on Standards
These lessons were developed with the idea that teachers all over the globe and a variety of grade levels could hack the lesson plan to meet their students' needs. Therefore, these are just some of the standards the lessons are based on, and not an all-inclusive list. Many of the CCSS align by grade level, so if you teach 9th grade, you could find the stair-stepped standard for CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.8.6 by looking at CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.9-10.6.

Step 2:

Choose one of the spots on the path that is going to be “important.” Use an awl on your pocketknife or multi-tool to poke two holes parallel to one another through the path and the board below it.

Step 3:

Strip half and inch of the insulation from a four inch piece of wire. Poke the wire through the bottom of the board and through the path.

Step 4:

Cut a short piece of conductive copper tape and place it under the wire poking through the path. Remove the backing and affix the copper tape to the game board.

Step 5:

Cut another piece of conductive copper tape as long as the playing space is wide. Cover the wire and first piece of copper tape with the second piece of tape, sandwiching the wire between the two pieces of conductive copper tape.

Step 6:

Repeat steps 3 through 5 for a second piece of different colored wire, poking the hole in the path and board parallel to the first. Label the back of the game board with the Earth marking and to which Key you want the wire connected on the Makey Makey.

Step 7:

Continue building copper tape pads for other game spaces. This board used four spaces, one for each of the arrow keys on the Makey Makey. Make sure you label the Earth and the key for each wire.

Step 8:

Select your playing piece. You can repurpose a small figurine or create your own. This “notbored” game used a 3D printed figurine made from a 3D scan of a garden ornament. The game also uses a repurposed LEGO Duplo figurine.

Step 9:

Turn the playing piece over. Affix a small strip of conductive copper tape to the base of the playing piece. Align the copper tape so when the playing piece sits on one of the wired spaces the copper tape on the playing piece bridges the two pieces of copper tape on the playing space. Alternately, use aluminum foil and the shape of the playing piece’s base to create the conductive “bridge.”

Step 10:

Turn the game board over. Use the hot glue gun to affix strips of wood or cardboard to the underside of the game board to elevate it slightly.

Step 11:

Use the needle nose pliers to make loops on the ends of the wires on the underside of the game board. This makes them less pokey and provides a better place to clip the alligator clips to the wires.

Step 12:

Connect the alligator clips to the wires on the bottom of the game board. Connect the other end of the alligator clips to the appropriate Keys and Earth on the Makey Makey.

Step 13:

Connect the Makey Makey to your computer. Load Scratch in your web browser. Program a Scratch project to make things happen in Scratch when the playing piece lands on the “special” space and closes the circuit on the Makey Makey.

Step 14:

Check out this example video.

Step 15: Extensions (Optional)

  • Wire more “special” spaces. Using the jumper on the back of the Makey Makey provides access to more keys: w, a, s, d, f, and g!
  • Adapt a book into a board game. Use a playing piece similar to a character in a favorite book. Your Scratch project could include animation or passages from the text.
  • Add additional playing pieces to your “notbored” game.



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